Nothing has gone horribly wrong, but 2015 launch for consumer Oculus Rift less likely

While Oculus founder Palmer Luckey restated his confidence today during a SXSW panel that the consumer Oculus Rift will be the best VR headset at any price point, he seemed to back away a bit from an earlier statement about the likelihood of the consumer device hitting in 2015.

The annual Oculus Ask Us Anything panel kicked off with Oculus vice president of product Nate Mitchell reading off a few hardball question from an Oculus sub-reddit forum to Luckey. The first asked if there was a date for the consumer version of the virtual reality headset.

“We don’t have anything to announce,” Luckey said, “Now is not the time nor the place, but everything is going well.”

The follow-up question asked Luckey if he still thought that the Rift is the best VR headset at any price and noted that “he also said that something would have to go terribly wrong for to the consumer Rift by the end of 2015. Does [Luckey] still stand by those statements?”

“I still do believe that,” Luckey said, responding to his thoughts on the quality of the headset. “I still stand by that. I’m pretty confident. But that could change. I’d love for it to change because it means there is something even better out there. But I think that’s unlikely right now.”

Luckey was a bit less willing to stand by his comments about the timing of the release for the consumer Rift.

“I did say [the comment about the 2015 release date] before we made a lot of changes to our roadmap,” he said. “We’ve expanded a lot of the ambition we had around the product and what we wanted to do.

“Us partnering with Facebook has allowed us to do a lot of things we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise, like hiring 300 people to work on getting the Rift out as quickly as possible to the quality level we wanted to. I can’t comment on the date one way or another, in either direction, but I can say that nothing is going horribly wrong. Everything is going horribly right.”

Just three months into 2015, and both virtual and augmented reality gaming peripherals and systems have become the most talked about tech at video game shows. Indie games for a variety of devices have flooded the show floors of the Game Developers Conference, PAX East and SXSW.

So much news on the topic came out at GDC, that Mitchell said this year’s show wasn’t GDC it was VRDC. Among the news were new details about Sony’s Project Morpheus, an update on Microsoft’s Hololens and Steam unveiling its own efforts.

During the wide-ranging question and answer session, which you can watch in full right here, Luckey also confirmed that the Crescent Bay, the latest Oculus Rift prototype, uses two screens, not one.